A benefit concert this Sunday will kick off a monthlong fundraising campaign to support a University of North Texas freshman who suffered a brain hemorrhage Jan. 1.
As Jackson Strecher, 18, awaits brain surgery at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, events are slated to support him and his family.
The fundraising campaign, Joining Hands for Jackson, kicks off with Jam for Jackson from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Center for the Visual Arts. The event features performances from Brave Combo, the Lead Pipes, Cindy Maloney, Polly Maynard, Denton Community Theatre, Music Theatre of Denton and other entertainment.
Jam for Jackson will also include food trucks and live and silent auctions. There is no set admission for the jam, but those who attend are being asked to make donations to help pay for his medical expenses.
Strecher suffered a brain hemorrhage brought on by a condition known as arteriovenous malformation, an entanglement of arteries and veins that burst. Since then, he’s undergone two emergency surgical procedures to relieve pressure around his brain and a blood clot. He is awaiting reparative brain surgery.
His parents said Thursday that he is making tremendous strides in his recovery. He has shown a lot of determination to learn to walk and talk again.
“He’s walking with help,” said his mother, Phaedra Strecher. “He’s my hero. He’s amazing.”
But the medical bills are enormous. The first bill came to more than $250,000, she said, so the help is really appreciated.
“The whole Denton community has been amazing,” she said.
His father, Michael Strecher, who is the technical director for Denton Community Theatre, said he didn’t expect the outpouring of support either.
“Everyone I know has stepped up in some way,” he said. “I don’t have words for it.”
Event organizers say their goal is to raise $20,000 for the Strecher family.
Jackson Strecher is a 2013 Denton High School graduate who at the time of the hemorrhage was a freshman at UNT studying history. He has also been active in the local theater scene and plays guitar in local rock band the Lead Pipes.
Donna Trammell, general chairwoman for the Joining Hands for Jackson steering committee, said that after Jackson Strecher became ill, the first instinct of the theater community “was to help any way we could.”
“The family was just really well-known, and Jackson grew up in our theater school,” she said. “The family has made a tremendous contribution in so many ways.”
Trammell said she got the idea to host benefit events for the Strechers after attending a similar benefit.
“It just seemed like a really positive way to do something good,” she said.
On April 5, the Denton Community Theatre will have a special matinee performance of the upcoming musical Hello Dolly! with all ticket sales benefiting the Strecher family.
About 30 people are on the committee to organize the Joining Hands for Jackson events, Trammell said. Everyone she’s asked to help has said yes, and that’s something she’s never experienced, she said.
Between the Jam for Jackson and Denton Community Theatre event, she hopes for additional, smaller events to assist the Strechers, too.
Staff writer Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe contributed to this report.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.